The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has kicked against attempts to replace the current Ghana National Single Window system at the country’s ports with a new system christened UNIPASS.
The Single Window, a project that integrates the systems of service providers at the country’s ports to facilitate clearing of goods without voluminous paperwork and reduced transactional time is already being operated by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GC-Net) and West Blue Consulting.
The Trade Ministry, however, recently awarded a 10-year third single window contract to Ghana Link Network Services Limited to provide the single window service at the country’s ports.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, the President of GIFF, Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah described the attempts to replace the existing system and the two service providers as unwise.
According to him, the processing fee for the proposed UNIPASS system will be 0.75% of Free on Board (FOB). This is higher than the combined fee of GCNET (0.40% of FOB) and Westblue (0.28% of CIF) which sums up to 0.68% in simplistic terms.
“These are the bare facts and as such, government, would have to choose between UNIPASS fee of 0.75 and the existing fee of 0.54,” he said.
Contrary to suggestions that West Blue and GCNet, who are championing delivery of the ICT needs of the country’s single window constitute a double window, the GIFF President clarified that that cannot be the case.
“One seems to wonder why with all these successors amid the resolvable challenges, a decision would be reached without evidential fact to replace these systems,” he stated.
Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah indicated that what is happening on the ground is a work in progress and challenges identified are being fixed and therefore any attempt to replace the system will be similar to reinventing the wheel.
But the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry who stormed the press conference disagrees.
“If the government comes into power and we think that we are over reliant on import revenue so we have to find a way to maximize revenue collection, we are doing Ghana a very good service by not going to London or America to bring a difference person. The same people that the NDC government brought in 2015, we say come back because we have seen what you have provided and think it is the best that can help us,” he averred.
According to him, government is expected to phase out the operations of GC-Net and West Blue soon with the introduction of a new trade facilitation platform, UNIPASS.
He said the platform will enhance the ease of doing business at the country’s ports.
“For the agreement between government and West Blue is signed by the Ministry of Finance, but as I speak to you, today, I can tell you for a fact that that agreement is in the process of expiring. It is not in our interest to abrogate it. If we have to abrogate it, we will use the necessary channels,” Carlos Ahenkorah told the press.